Oil dips after hitting highest since mid

US Crude Ends 2017 Above $60, But This Sets Stage For Shale/OPEC Clash, Say Analysts

WTI Crude Oil Price Hits 60 bbl, Highest Since Mid-2015

The spread between USA crude and Brent hit the narrowest in almost two weeks.

WTI prices were supported by data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration late on Thursday showing domestic oil production C-OUT-T-EIA declined last week to 9.75 million barrels per day (bpd) from 9.79 million bpd the previous week.

Ongoing protests in Iran have led to a hardening of crude prices to levels last seen in mid-2015.

WTI Crude Oil futures hit 60.32, the highest since June 2015.

Higher US crude oil exports could negatively impact oil prices globally.

"Growing unrest in Iran set the table for a bullish start to 2018", the US -based Schork Report said in a note to clients on Tuesday.

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The Kremlin's deal with Opec has been extended until the end of 2018, a sign that allies are committed to cutting stockpiles to boost prices.

Extreme cold weather across much of North America could also boost US crude prices by causing production problems in the oilfields.

Libya is to start repairing the pipeline near the Es Sider terminal this weekend, a Libyan oil official said, while the Forties pipeline was already pumping close to normal levels, according to trading sources.

Even without the unrest in Iran, which is a major oil exporter, market sentiment was bullish.

Moody's believes North American exploration & production companies, after strong capital investment in 2017, will aim for profitable growth within existing oil acreage and cash flow in the new year, with improvement favouring companies with the greatest exposure to the best acreage and producers in the Permian Basin leading the way. Inventories are down by nearly 20% from historic highs last March, and well below this time in Y 2016 or in Y 2015.

Russia's oil production in December 2017 was 10.95 million bpd, up from 10.94 million bpd in November, driven by 0.2-percent growth in production at the biggest oil firm, Rosneft.

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